Local father getting national attention for work with autism

 

Auto mechanic Damian Sharbowski is a no frills, no nonsense kind of man. His work in the community rivals his work under the hood. 

"I don't have a business degree, I am just a mechanic," says Sharbowski. "But I run a business as the old adage as a spit in a handshake and that should be your word."

That business, Damian's Auto Service, is near and dear to his heart. He opened it in 2014 to make life a little easier for his son.

"When he was born we knew something was up. We found he was autistic so I built my business so he always has somewhere else to work," says Sharbowski. 

Damian has also dedicated his life to helping other families dealing with autism.  

"It's a daily challenge. Things that people take for granted, like taking a vacation; just to get out of town is a major hurdle." says Sharbowski.

Over the past few years, Damian has worked with "Northern Detroit Business Development Group" to raise $42,000 for a play place for autistic children. It's set to open August 1 near Mound and 18 Mile Roads.

"This will be the first place in the United States and the world that is going to cater to autistic and handicapped children," says Sharbowski. "They're going to have a lego room, an iPad room, there's going to be a calming center, a haircut hut." 

When Damian isn't busy fixing cars and advocating for those with autism, he coaches his other son's team in the Sterling Heights basketball league. All of this was quietly flying under the radar, until now.

A well-known beer company has taken notice of Damian's efforts. He's been named a Busch Hero along with a handful of other men in women in the United States. The campaign recognizes hard-working individuals who go above and beyond to make a difference in their hometown. Damian is being featured on Busch billboards, commercials and cases of beer. 

"I'd like people to see this and go, 'I can do that, I can take the time,'" says Sharbowski. "I know lives are busy but put your cell phone down for an hour and give back to the community, anything."

Damian often works 15 hours a day, six days a week, and even works a second job in the winter plowing snow. But he says it's worth it when he looks at his sons. 

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